Harry’s sum­mer hol­i­days

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - COL­UMN

The bouncy cas­tles have been de­flated. The kids are back at school.

The kids are back at school and, p’raps, an English teacher has as­signed a warm-up pro­ject: write an es­say telling how you spent your sum­mer hol­i­days.

Be­cause there are scraps of such as­sign­ments still slop­ping around in my nog­gin like flot­sam lap­ping wharf pil­ings, I’ve de­cided to join the kids and speak of how Dear­est Duck and I spent a por­tion of our sum­mer hol­i­days. Here goes. In early Au­gust we flew to Prince Ge­orge to visit Daddy’s Boy.

De­spite my Zen colour­ing book, I sobbed pro­fusely dur­ing the fi­nal leg of the trip. Not be­cause of fear of fly­ing, but be­cause of the con­stant pain in my dou­ble-T butt — or, more pre­cisely, the pain in the hip that will re­quire a re­place­ment joint if I re­main on this planet much longer.

“Harry, my pan­ty­waist honey,” said Dear­est Duck high above the blue Cana­dian Rock­ies, “stop whim­per­ing and suck it up.”

I did and even­tu­ally we pitched in Prince Ge­orge…

… where Dear­est Duck’s lucky streak be­gan.

Nei­ther jet­lag nor the mis­eries lin­ger­ing in my butt had com­pletely faded be­fore Daddy’s Boy took us to a neigh­bour­hood pub for dis­count wings, on-tap bev­er­ages, and con­tin­u­ing games of Keno.

When she won $10 on the first batch of Keno num­bers, Dear­est Duck screamed more shrilly than she did when she saw the Bea­tles on “The Ed Sul­li­van Show.” What? Bea­tles? Ed Sul­li­van? Eons ago, eh b’ys? Half way through a plate of wings, Dear­est screamed even more stri­dently when she won another $10.

My Im­per­fect


For the re­main­der of the evening, Dear­est Duck’s re­peated screams star­tled the pub’s pa­trons un­til man­age­ment’s face com­menced to scowl.

I failed to win a sou. I did ruin my brand new Mark’s shirt with a glob of teriyaki sauce when Dear­est’s flail­ing ticket-hold­ing hand knocked a sticky wing away from my chops.

Two days later Dear­est Duck won again.

This time Daddy’s Boy’s honey coaxed Dear­est Duck into par­tic­i­pat­ing in a dial-in ra­dio con­test.

Dear­est pro­vided the cor­rect an­swer to some top­i­cal ques­tion and won two passes to the lo­cal agri­cul­tural fair. Need­less to say, scream­ing and leap­ing about on the liv­ing room rug fol­lowed.

Yes, of course, we went to the fair.

Dear­est Duck handed her free passes to a cou­ple of needy-look­ing kids out­side the ticket booth say­ing, “Harry, don’t pout, we’ll buy se­niors’ tick­ets.”

Sure, Dear­est Duck screamed on all the rides, ac­com­pa­nied by the free-pass kids, while — us­ing the resid­ual ache in my dou­ble-T as an ex­cuse — I re­fused to stand in a sin­gle line.

I did, how­ever, wan­der off to the barns where I man­aged to step in a re­cently re­leased pile of pig’s poop, com­pletely stog­ging the treads of the brand new hol­i­day hik­ers I’d bought the pre­vi­ous day at — where else? — Mark’s.

Dear­est Duck may have had all the hol­i­day fun, but she had none of the fame.

Be­fore our

for­eign-province hol­i­day ended fame was mine.

On the fi­nal day of our visit I trailed Dear­est Duck as she shopped for sou­venirs. Even­tu­ally, she towed me to a strip mall where I stood as pa­tiently as a post hold­ing the sack of pur­chased sou­venirs while Dear­est poked about in this store and that store…

… un­til she ar­rived at the check­out of an es­tab­lish­ment called Spruce­land News.

“You folks are not from Prince Ge­orge,” the clerk in­formed us.

“No,” said Dear­est Duck while I re­mained still post-like with the sou­venir sack. “We’re from New­found­land.”

In­stead of mak­ing some re­mark about our ac­cents, the clerk said, “Oh, that’s nice. We sell New­found­land’s Down­home mag­a­zine.” Fame had walked in the door. “Imag­ine,” said Dear­est Duck. Then she pointed to me. “Harry writes for Down­home,” she said, then flipped through the cur­rent is­sue to show my smil­ing chops. Fame breathed down my neck. “Good­ness,” said the clerk. “We’re hold­ing a copy of Down­home for a man who comes in from Smithers.” She shuffed his copy to­wards me. “Will you au­to­graph it for him?”

Fame clamped on to my kin­corn. “Re­ally?” I man­aged to croak. My head swoll up like a lump fish’s pud­dick, I ac­cepted the clerk’s pen and with a trem­bling hand scrawled my name.

Un­be­knownst to me, Dear­est Duck took a snap with her iPhone of me bent over the counter, my right hand…well, writ­ing…my left hand still hold­ing the sou­venir sack swing­ing like a pen­du­lum.

The snap would be suit­able for my brand new Wall of Fame if only Dear­est Duck had re­minded me to lodge down the sack.

She might have said, “Put down the bag,” for frig sake, eh b’ys?

Thank you for read­ing.


Com­pass colum­nist Harry Wal­ters signs a copy of Down­home at a sou­venir shop in Bri­tish Columbia. A clerk at the store asked him to sign it for a cus­tomer af­ter she learned Harry is a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to the mag­a­zine.

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